Picture: THE TIMES
Picture: THE TIMES

The number of employed South Africans fell by 16,000 in the third quarter of 2018, driven largely by a fall in the number of those employed in the manufacturing, construction and mining sectors, Statistics SA said on Tuesday.

Despite exiting the recession, the weak economy has kept the pace of job creation muted, with recent business confidence surveys showing that most firms reported downward pressure on payrolls.

In the second quarter, the economy shed 69,000 jobs.

Employment in the manufacturing sector fell by 7,000, while construction shed 5,000 jobs and mining 2,000, Statistics SA said in its quarterly employment survey.

This comes on the same day the mining and manufacturing production figures will be released for the fourth quarter.

The number of employed, according to the survey — which covered all industries other than agriculture — fell to 9.72-million in the quarter to end-September.

However, compared to a year ago, employment increased by 17,000 or 0.2% year-on-year with an increase of 25,000 in trade, 22,000 in community services and 21,000 in business services.

On a year-on-year basis, gross earnings by employees increased 5.6%, and 4.2% on a quarterly basis, largely due to increases in community services, business services, mining and quarrying industries, manufacturing, electricity and transport industries.

Average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal nonagricultural sector increased from R20,163 in May 2018 to R20,860 in August 2018.